Best Z390 Motherboard for Gaming in 2022

We take a closer at today's market to find only the best Z390 motherboards for your Intel builds

best z390 motherboard
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The Z390 is Intel’s latest generation of motherboard’s which have been purpose-built to work alongside their 9th gen range of Coffee Lake processors. They were first released at the back end of 2018 and are widely considered to be one of the most powerful motherboards in today’s market.

Intel has equipped their new series of boards with a variety of powerful upgrades such as USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, CNVI link support, and even more headroom for outstanding levels of overclocking potential. If you’re looking to maximize the performance power of your new 9th processor then the Z390 is certainly the board to go for.

Unfortunately, choosing which one is right for you can be a fairly strenuous task. It usually required hours of tireless research browsing various websites, forums and review pages in the hope you can extract enough information to make the proper informed decision of which one to go for. Well here’s the good news. Here at WePC, we do all the leg work for you.

We have a team of dedicated computer enthusiasts that spend their days testing and working with the latest and best hardware tech on the market. They’re bang up-to-date with the latest manufacturer announcements ensuring all of our recommendations meet strict criteria categories before reaching the consumer.

So, if you are building around one of Intel’s latest 9th gen chips, sit back and relax, the following is our list of the best Z390’s available in today’s market.

Our Top Picks

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WePC Awards Best In Class
Best motherboard for high-end gaming builds
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Runner up Z390 for gaming intel builds
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Best Gigabyte Z390 motherboard

How We Choose

We get many questions asking how we go about choosing which boards to put on our list, and the answer is always the same. To ensure we are recommending the correct hardware components to our readers the team follow strict criteria categories to make sure the products meet our quality control standards… Those categories are as follows:

  1. Staying up to date. No one wants to receive outdated information, so we do our due diligence to ensure we’re always on top of industry trends!
  2. Research is key. Tech is complicated and can be multifaceted, so we scoured the internet to find the motherboards everyone is using, what components are working best with those boards, and several other key factors.
  3. Narrowing down. Once we have a pool of candidates, we start narrowing down based on things such as: features, reviews, personal experience, etc. The final candidates are the ones that made the biggest impact.
  4. Performance Levels.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Gaming Motherboard

You’ve had a brief overview of the best Z390’s available in today’s market. With this information you’re now going to have to choose which one is best for your specific needs. To make this decision easier we’ve broken down the most important aspects of the motherboard and explain what they do and why. We do this because an educated consumer is more likely to make the correct choice at the end of the day.

The following are some of the aspects of a motherboard you should be taking into consideration when researching which one to purchase.

Form Factor

Form factor, for lack of a better word, is the physical size of the board. The most popular forms range from E-ATX (designed for PC enthusiasts looking to build the best of the best) right down to the Mini-ITX (for consumers who want a build with an extremely low footprint).

The physical footprint is certainly something to consider when purchasing a motherboard because the features and available slots vary dramatically from size to size. You wouldn’t want to buy a mini-ITX motherboard and 4 sticks of 16GB RAM, for example. The Motherboard wouldn’t have the capacity to house all the memory.

Below we have put the different forms into a chart so you can compare:

Form Factor

Form FactorSize (in inches)
Mini-ITX6.7 x 6.7
Mini-ATX5.9 x 5.9
microATX9.6 x 9.6
ATX12 x 9.6
eATX12 x 13

There you have the 5 most popular motherboard form factors and their corresponding dimensions. This should clear up any confusion you may have on form factor going forward. It’s not just size that separates each of the forms though, let’s waste no time getting into the socket and chipsets.

Socket

There are 2 main types of motherboard socket, the LGA 1151 and AMD’s AM4. With this article specifically targeting the Z390 you won’t have to worry about this section too much, but we’ll explain it none the less.

The socket is the physical slot on the motherboard that holds your CPU in place. Intel has the LGA1151 and AMD have their AM4. This means AMD’s latest 2700x processor WILL NOT be compatible with any of the LGA1151 boards and vice versa.

Trying to fit the wrong processor into the wrong socket type can cause fatal damage to your components, and no one wants that!

Most of Intel’s chips are now running the LGA1151 socket, however, just be aware that if you are upgrading to a 9th gen chip that not all LGA1151 board’s are compatible.

Why not check out our hardware compatibility article to fully understand what components pair best with each other. 

Socket

MotherboardGigabyte Z390 Aorus XtremeMSI MEG X570 Godlike
ProcessorIntel Core i9-9900KAMD Ryzen 3900X
SocketLGA 1151AM4

Chipsets

Probably the most important factor when choosing which motherboard to start with is the chipset. The chipset, for those that are unaware, is the key factor in determining which features your motherboard comes with. The features range from PCIe lanes and SATA ports right through to overclocking support and the USB generation.

You really need to make sure you know your motherboards chipset before your start buying the other components or you might find yourself in a position where you have bought a piece of hardware that has nowhere to live.

Also, with technology advancements moving quicker than ever, always check to see if your specs are up-to-date. There are a number of older and cheaper boards that don’t have M.2 support or DDR4 RAM for example.

Below is a rough chart of varied motherboards and what their chipsets have to offer:

Intel

Intel

ChipsetPCI Express LanesSATA PortsM.2 PortsUSB 3.1 Gen 1USB 3.1 Gen 2Overclocking Supported
H3106 PCIe 2.04NoneUp to 4NoneNo
B36012 PCIe 3.06Up to 2Up to 6Up to 4No
H37020 PCIe 3.06Up to 2Up to 8Up to 4No
Z37024 PCIe 3.06Up to 3Up to 10NoneYes

AMD

AMD

ChipsetPCI Express LanesSATA PortsM.2 PortsUSB 3.1 Gen 1USB 3.1 Gen 2Overclocking
Supported
A3201 PCIe 3.04216No
4 PCIe 2.0
B3501 PCIe 3.04226Yes
6 PCIe 2.0
X4702 PCIe 3.062210Yes
6 PCIe 2.0
B4506 PCIe 2.06222Yes
B5506 PCIe 3.06222Yes
X57016 PCIe 4.012308Yes

Memory

When it comes to checking memory compatibility there a few areas that you need to be mindful of: Max supported memorymemory speedmulti-channel support, and how many memory slots are on the board.

The easiest way to check your motherboard is compatible with the RAM you currently own or want to buy is in the motherboard spec’s. It will tell you straight away how much and what speed RAM it can accommodate.

Memory Location

Particularly important when purchasing a smaller form board is the location of the memory. You’re probably asking yourself now, why would that be a problem, as long as it fits? Well strictly speaking, the memory location is rarely going to be an issue. However, if you’re mad into overclocking you may have purchased a large, aftermarket custom CPU cooler.

In some cases, the larger than normal heat sink can become a real problem. Just make sure if you are choosing a larger cooler that the RAM is located far enough away to accommodate for both.

PCI slots

Peripheral Component Interconnect, or PCI, is the physical slot in which you can expand the capabilities of your basic system.

This includes, but not limited to things like:

  • Wifi card
  • Video card
  • Extra USB ports
  • NVMe expansion cards

There are two types of PCI slots: PCI and PCI Express (PCIe). The PCIe slot is a larger, faster version of the PCI slot and usually houses your graphics card.

If you plan on having dual GPU’s running then it’s always important to make sure you have enough PCI slots. A lot of the time, manufacturers will compromise slot’s to reduce the price, so making sure all your cards and expansion packs are catered for should be highly prioritized.

The other thing to look for is plenty of spacing. If you’re planning on running multiple GPUs that are large, you may need PCIe slots that are further apart to allow for adequate space.

Fan Headers

The last thing you need to make sure is that you have enough fan headers for everything you plan on running. If you’re running a lot of fans, or maybe RGB controllers, you’re going to have make sure you have enough headers on the motherboard to support this.

If you’re interested in learning more about motherboards, then you can read all about how motherboards are made, as well as what all of the main components do.

Best Z390 Motherboard in 2022

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In-depth Review

01
Best motherboard for high-end gaming builds
WePC Awards Best In Class

MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE

MSI MEG Z390 GODLIKE

Intended Build

Intel High End Builds

Form Factor

E-ATX

Overclocking Support

Yes

Socket

LGA1151

Chipset

Z390

Editor's Rating
5/5
Pros

Aesthetically an extremely attractive looking board

Triple Turbo M.2 with M.2 Shield Frozr

Supports up to 4600Mhz RAM with DD4 Boost

Miniature onabord OLED display

Onboard switches to quickly change BIOS profiles

Cons

Very expensive

Large form factor

Specs

  • Socket: LGA1151
  • Chipset: Z390
  • Memory Slots: 4 x 288-pin DIMM
  • Max Memory: 128GB Dual Channel
  • Max memory frequency: 4,600MHz
  • PCIe slots:
    • 4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
    • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
  • SATA ports: 6
  • M.2 Ports: 3
  • USB Ports:
    • 1 x USB Type C
    • 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (additional 4 x USB 3.1 gen 2 via internal connector)
    • 2 x USB 3.0 Gen 1
    • 4 x USB 2.0

This hugely impressive motherboard from MSI tops our list as the ultimate Z390 motherboard and for good reason. The GODLIKE is, without doubt, the most powerful board in our list thanks to the 18 phases VRM which has almost unlimited performance potential thanks to the overclocking headroom.

Performance a side however, MSI have gone with what they like to call the new infinity design which again only further symbolizes the performance potential. The board features Mystic Light RGB, Dynamic OLED dashboard, triple turbo M.2 support with Shield Frozr heat sinks, XTREME audio DAC and an impressive list of slots.

The Mystic Light RGB can be tailored to your specific style and has been equipped with 16 million different colour combinations creating endless possibilities to choose from. Further to this, the board has a OLED dashboard which shows the status of the board, it can also display uploaded GIF’s if that’s your thing.

The triple turbo M.2 support means you have a huge capacity for future expansion if required and their Shield Frozr cooling will ensure everything stays icey cool.

Overall this is one of the best motherboards you can buy for Intel and takes our top spot for best Z390 in 2019 so far.

02
Runner up Z390 for gaming intel builds
Asus Logo

ASUS ROG Maximus XI Code

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI CODE

Intended Build

Intel High End Builds

Form Factor

ATX

Overclocking Support

Yes

Socket

LGA1151

Chipset

Z390

Editor's Rating
4.8/5
Pros

5-Way Optimization for intelligent overclocking

Fantastic RGB which is fully customisable to your specific style

Huge overclocking potential

Supports 64GB 4133Mhz RAM

Cons

Very expensive board

Specs

  • Socket: LGA 1151
  • Chipset: Z390
  • Memory Slots: 4 X 288pin
  • Max Memory: 64GB Dual Channel
  • Max memory frequency: 4,133MHz
  • PCIe slots:
    • 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x8/x8, or x8/x4+x4)
    • 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
    • 3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
  • SATA ports: 6
  • M.2 Ports: 2
  • USB Ports:
    • 1 x USB Type-C
    • 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
    • 6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
    • 6 x USB 2.0

The ROG range has been developing high end gaming hardware since it’s creation in 2006 and never fails to produce quality components. We’re huge fans of ROG at WEPC and for good reason, they churn out quality and reliable hardware offerings which look fantastic.

The CODE, as we like to call it, comes equipped with ASUS’s signature Aura Sync RGB and a newly enhanced distinctive design with ROG armor. The cooling system has independent temperature control and flow headers ensuring consumers receive the best cooling possible.

Most impressive for us is the newly enhanced 5 way optimization tool which makes overclocking as simple as turning the volume up on your music. To allow the CODE to reap maximum overclocking potential, developers have equipped it with dedicated onboard clock generators that supply dynamic reference clocks to the CPU cores and major subdomains. This gives consumers the freedom to coax ever MHz of headroom out of their build.

Ultimately, what we have here is a high powered, gnarly looking motherboard which is going to not only make your rig look impressive but also make it performance just as well.

03
Best Gigabyte Z390 motherboard

Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Xtreme

GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS Xtreme

Intended Build

High End Intel Build

Form Factor

E-ATX

Overclocking Support

Yes

Socket

LGA1151

Chipset

Z390

Editor's Rating
4.7/5
Pros

Superb RGB design

Powerful performance stats

Upgraded VRM for maximum overclocking potential

3 Ultra-fast M.2 PCIe's with thermal guards

Cons

Very expensive board

Large form factor

Specs

  • Socket: LGA1151
  • Chipset: Z390
  • Memory Slots: 4 X 288pin
  • Max Memory: 128GB Dual Channel
  • Max memory frequency: 4,400 MHz
  • PCIe slots:
    • 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16, x8, x4
    • 2 x PCIe 2.0 x1
  • SATA ports: 6
  • M.2 Ports: 3
  • USB Ports:
    • 3 x USB Type-C
    • 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
    • 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
    • 6 x USB 2.0

The Gigabyte AORUS Xtreme is another superb motherboard from the Z390 chipset range. This gaming motherboard comes with 16 phases IR Digital VRM for impressive overclocking potential, Fins-Array heatsink’s, Gigabytes legendary FUSION 2.0 RGB and a whole bunch of slots making it super versatile and compatible.

Gigabyte continue to impress in the hardware universe and with their newly designed Z390 motherboard comes another entry into our best of guide. They have described the AORUS Xtreme as the new definition of a flagship motherboard and it’s hard to disagree, its a brilliant board. The innovative design paired with the Fusion 2.0 RGB really make this board stand out from the bunch, it’s definitely the most aesthetically pleasing in this list.

Looks aside however, the performance doesn’t let you down here either. It’s been developed to accommodate 8th and 9th gen coffee lake Intel processors, as you would expect,  and seems to have had overclocking as one of it’s main priorities. The VRM is of extremely high quality to ensure stability and the cooling system is extremely efficient. A Nanocarbon backplate and Fins-Array heatsink make the perfect pairing for someone looking to overclock and keep their build running cool.

We were really impressed with the AORUS Xtreme and certainly agree that it’s their new flagship board, however it just misses out of the top spot on this occasion.

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best Z390 that isn't going to break the bank

MSI MPG Z390 Gaming PRO Carbon

best z390 motherboard

Intended Build

Mid-high Intel builds

Form Factor

ATX

Overclocking Support

Yes

Socket

LGA1151

Chipset

z390

Editor's Rating
4.6/5
Pros

Supports dual channel 4,400Mhz DDR4 RAM

Very affordable high end board

Superb aesthetic design complimented with Mystic Light RGB

Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 3

Cons

Does not come with built in WIFI adapater

Specs

  • Socket: LGA 1151
  • Chipset: Z390
  • Memory Slots: 4 X 288pin
  • Max Memory: 128GB Dual Channel
  • Max memory frequency: 4,400 (OC) MHz
  • PCIe slots:
    • 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16
    • 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
  • SATA ports: 6
  • M.2 Ports: 2
  • USB Ports:
    • 1 x USB C
    • 5 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
    • 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
    • 6 x USB 2.0

MSI’s MPG Z390  gaming PRO Carbon is without the cheapest and best value to performance board in this list. It comes to shevles at a fraction of the price of the 3 above but has been geared towards gaming and doesn’t massively lack on features.

It supports both 8th and 9th coffee lake Intel processors like all the boards on this list alongside 4,400Mhz RAM support meaning you have the potential to build a rapid gaming rig with the PRO Carbon at it’s heart.

It has MSI’s Mystic light RGB which looks superb especially when pairing it with other RGB compatible components, think 2080 ti and the likes. It also comes equipped with the ever popular Shield Frozr feature which is MSI’s take on thermal enhancement specifically targetting your M.2 bays.

It doesn’t quite have as many slots or connectivity options as the picks above, neither does it have the super expensive build quality, but what you do get is all the features you expect from a top end board, for a much cheaper final price tag.

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Best motherboard for small builds

Gigabyte Z390 I AORUS PRO WiFi

Gigabyte Z390 I AORUS PRO

Intended Builds

Mini ITX Form Builds

Form Factor

Mini ITX

Overclocking Support

Yes

Socket

LGA1151

Chipset

Z390

Editor's Rating
4.5/5
Pros

Mini ITX form great for small builds

Solid price/performance

Comes with built in WIFI

Cons

Limited space for expansion

Specs

  • Socket: LGA 1151
  • Chipset: z390 (Mini ITX)
  • Memory Slots: 2 X 288pin
  • Max Memory: 32GB Dual Channel
  • Max memory frequency: 3,200 MHz
  • PCIe slots:
    • 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
  • SATA ports: 4
  • M.2 Ports: 1
  • USB Ports:
    • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2
    • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
    • 2 x USB 2.0

Gigabytes I AORUS PRO WIFI is the smallest form motherboard in our list and is the cheapest, as you’d expect, probably. It’s a Mini-ITX board meaning it’s purpose built for small builds that are both inconspicuous and don’t take up much room. A lot of people are building powerful Mini-ITX rigs these days thanks to LAN events becoming ever more popular.

Size is both the pro and the con for this motherboard, on one side of the coin you have something that no other motherboard has in this list, small form.  However, compromises are made when reducing the overall dimensions of your component and that is certainly the case here.

Only 1 PCIe slot and 1 M.2 mean future expansion is pretty limited. More importantly for some is the lack of RAM slots as this only comes with 2 and has a maximum capacity of 32GB which basically means you have to go all out first time with 2 x 16GB sticks or be stuck for a while with 2 x 8gb sticks which may eventually become redundant.

Ultimately, I actually really like this board and as far as Mini-ITX go it’s right up there for best in it’s field. It will never compete with ATX boards so there’s really no point comparing them. However if you’re looking to build a mini gaming rig for LAN’s i’d stop searching now, Gigabyte tick those boxes nicely.

Final Word

So which motherboard will you choose? Personally, I really enjoyed the PRO Carbon, firstly because it looks great and had excellent performance levels, but secondly the price. Many who read this will be sticking to a strict budget and being able to justify splashing out $500 on a motherboard is just not reasonable. However, with the Pro Carbon’s price tag I feel it’s a much better fit for myself and other consumers looking to put together a more rounded build.

Let us know which motherboard you chose and why, we’d love to hear from you.

The Author Who Worked On This Article

Product Benchmarker
at
WePC
Jack has been interested in computers and tech since 10 years old when he decided to dismantle his PC to see how it worked. Ever since Jack has had a passion for IT and gaming beyond any other. He loves the data and testing process and allowing himself to take an analytical and technical approach to PC hardware. He’s even gone as far as getting educated in cyber security.

Independent, transparent, rigorous and authentic, our reviews are the most thorough and honest in PC gaming. Learn about our review process.

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